I normally ride around Key West on my very inexpensive cruiser bike, which is a little too small for me, has coaster brakes and no gears. It is my kind of bike. I lock it all the time, as it could be gone in a minute otherwise. Naturally I was excited to learn that The Innsbruck had bikes we could borrow during our stay, free of charge. Bonus: they are cruisers. Yes, they had hand brakes and a few speeds, but nonetheless I would be on (somewhat) familiar ground.
I had read that you can ride your bike seven miles, mostly downhill, along the Rio Grande trail and get to the Woody Creek Tavern. To get back (mostly uphill) you can take a bus. Or so I thought.
I should mention that Aspen is full of Serious Bikers, or at least people that
look like Serious Bikers. You know the ones: $5,000 bicycles, aerodynamic helmets, goggles, the shirts with the little pouches in the back and the shorts. Not to mention the clip-on shoes. You can even buy logo bike jerseys just about anywhere that also sells t-shirts, like hotels and the brewery. I, however, am not a Serious Biker, so FKGuy and I were wearing our regular clothes and sandals as we hopped aboard our bright blue cruisers.
Additionally, the bike rack at the Woody Creek Tavern is full of Serious Bikes, none of which are locked. So when we pulled in and I asked FKGuy to lock the bikes, he looked around at the slew of unlocked $5,000 bikes and laughed.
We enjoyed the trail, and especially our lunch of smoked trout, salad and vegetarian tacos, complete with fake chorizo. We topped it off with some local beers and it was adding up to a great day.
As we finished our meal, I asked our server where we could get the bus back to Aspen. She told us that it didn’t come until 5:15 PM. What? Are you kidding me? Apparently she was serious. She told us that we could go to some other lot to catch a bus and we could turn right,
then left, then left, then go up a giant hill, but if you miss the turn you will end up riding on the highway. On our cruiser bikes. With no helmets. Uh, no thanks.
As we were mentally preparing for the seven mile uphill return trip, I called The Innsbruck and had this conversation:
Me: Hi. So, how far will your shuttle service go?
Bri: Anywhere in town.
Me: Well, let me tell you why I am asking…
Bri: That doesn’t sound right. Let me check the bus schedule. Hold on.
Me: (Holding patiently)
Bri: Yup. You’re right. It doesn’t come until 5:15. Justin will be by to pick you up in about fifteen minutes.
As we were waiting patiently for Justin (who saved our anniversary), we were watching some of the other patrons. Another hotel shuttle pulled up and two Serious Bikers hopped right in with their gear. I felt validated.
Later in the week, while borrowing my friend’s mountain bike for an 8 mile
trek near Boulder – with plenty of uphill parts – she would be telling me about her bike. “Well, there are three gears on this side, and seven on the other side and you use these for…” Instead, I heard “blah, blah, blah, blah, gears, blah, blah, blah brakes, blah, blah, blah.” Since I have no idea what gears are for what use, I cheerfully ignored her.
Along the tour, her husband would say things like “Tell me when you think you are halfway, because we need to double back to get home.” Sensing my out, I cried “I’m done. Let’s go back.” And then we would press on for another mile and a half (that is three extra miles round-trip, if you are keeping score).
Once I made it up the final hill of the day, I proclaimed that everyone around me could feel free to call me Alberto Contador for the rest of the day, and that clearly I was now ready to tackle the mountain stages of the Tour de France. They (wisely) ignored me.